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A Very Poetic L.A. Event

Poet-author Carol Muske-Dukes staged the Favorite Poem Project at the 1998 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday, April 26 at UCLA.

Muske-Dukes, a professor of English, selected 15 civic leaders and others from various walks of life to read aloud their favorite poems. The readers included 11-year-old Kiyoshi Houston, son of Velina Hasu Houston, associate professor in the School of Theatre, and President Steven B. Sample. The young Houston, shown below with Muske-Dukes, read “O Tell Me the Truth About Love” by W.H. Auden and “Untitled Haiku” by Sone No Yoshitada. Sample, above left, read “Raisin Eyes” by Native American poet Luci Tapahonso and “Birches” by Robert Frost. Other USC-affiiliated readers were Elaine Leventhal, wife of USC Trustee Kenneth Leventhal, and freshman Cynthia Roos, a graduate of the Neighborhood Academic Initiative.

The Favorite Poem Project is a nationwide event initiated by poet laureate Robert Pinsky to create an audio and video archive of 100 to 150 Americans reading aloud a favorite poem. Muske-Dukes coordinated the event as part of a Witter-Bynner Fellowship awarded by the Library of Congress. The archive will eventually stay in the Library of Congress.

The poetry reading is co-sponsored by the Poet Laureate’s Office, the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, the Library of Congress and the Los Angeles Public Library.

Other USC faculty involved in the 1998 Festival of Books included: Greg Hise, assistant professor, School of Urban Planning and Development; James Ragan, director, Master of Professional Writing Program; Noel Riley Fitch, instructor, MPW Program; John Rechy, instructor, MPW Program; and Robert Scheer, lecturer and editor, Online Journalism Review, at the Annenberg School for Communication.

A Very Poetic L.A. Event

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